December 2011

A collegue recently brought this issue to my attention and I thought it would be a learning opportunity to discuss an E/C’s right to offset temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits with Claimant’s entitlement to unemployment compensation (UC) benefits.

Once again, it is important for E/C’s to send a DWC-30 form to Claimant’s to get authorization for UC information.  Without this information, an E/C is not entitled to take an offset against future TPD benefits.  

So, send the form!  Send the form!  Send the. . . Uh, you get the idea. . . (more…)

I’ve received an esteemed honor before regarding this blog when Lexis Nexis named Workers’ Comp Corner one of the best blogs of 2008.  But, I am humbled by my peers bestowing upon me an AV rating, the highest an attorney can receive per Martindale Hubbell.

The AV Preeminent rating deems an attorney the highest ranking for the following qualities: legal knowledge, analytical capability, judgment, communication ability, and legal experience.  To receive this from my peers is truly special and I thank those who offered their opinion.

For more about my profile at Martindale Hubbell, click here.

Yesterday, I wrote about how an E/C must present evidence that a Claimant failed to complete an earnings report (DWC-19 form) in order to suspend temporary partial benefits.  In the Rucker v. Just Brakes case, the E/C failed to assert this as an affirmative defense and therefore the Judge could not limit Claimant’s right to penalties and interest nor was the E/C correct in suspending benefits.

In other words: Send them the forms. Send them the forms. Send them the forms.  (See yesterday’s post!)

But, what about permanent total disability? Can an E/C unilaterally suspend PTD benefits when a Claimant fails to complete a DWC-19 form? (more…)

Many E/C’s assume that once you retain an independent medical examiner, their opinion will automatically favor them.  You are “buying” an opinion, right?  Wrong.  Just because you pay for the services of an expert does not mean that expert will snap to and be a puppet for your defense.

IME doctors can still sink you and disagree with the legal position you are taking.  Therefore, it is always a risk to retain an IME because there is always a chance it can go bad for you. 

And if it does go bad, what are your options?  Many of us in the profession thought you were sunk.  After all, section 440.13(5)(b) mandates that your are bound by your IME selection.  Now, it seems that a party still has some life left even when their own IME shoots them in the foot.

More after the jump. . . (more…)

Repeat after me: Send them the forms.  Send them the forms.  Send them the forms!!!

What forms, you ask?  Why the DWC-19 forms, of course!  DWC-19 forms are the wage loss forms that Claimants must complete (under penalty of perjury) indicating to the Carrier that she is not earning any wages or less than 80% of her AWW and is entitled to temporary partial benefits.

An E/C does not have to pay TPD benefits until it receives the completed DWC-19’s forms from the Claimant.  However. . . alot of E/C’s forget to send Claimant the forms.

Let this case be a lesson . . . (more…)

I’ve written about this before.  There is no such thing as “temporary” permanent total disability.  Once a Claimant reaches MMI, she is either PTD or not.  If she is at statutory MMI (exhausted 104 weeks of temporary benefits) then a Claimant needs to present evidence that she will be PTD when she achieves “physical” MMI from her doctors. 

Despite this clarity, the First DCA explored this issue again Matrix Employee v. Hadley, this time en banc or the all of the Court’s judges deciding on the issue.  It appeared that the Court was ready to reverse this well versed precedent. . . (more…)

I was a guest speaker at a recent seminar and the question of misrepresenation came up.  Namely, how does an Employer protect itself from misrepresentation and establish such a defense? Another concern is how to negotiate federal employment law, namely the Americans with Disabilities Act.

More after the jump. (more…)